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Old 10-01-2012, 11:20 AM   #1
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


The baseboards in this house are very old walnut that have been painted over, probably many times. The baseboards can't be removed without destroying them.

What would be the best way to strip the paint. Heatg gun, chemicals, or just sand away? Maybe a combination of methods, if so, what order?

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Old 10-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #2
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


Old house means highly likly to be lead based paint.

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Old 10-01-2012, 11:55 AM   #3
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


If the paint is real old it may be over old shellac. Between the two of them a scraper may be your best bet. Old oil based paint gets real hard and brittle and if you use the proper scraper it comes off real easy. I recently did a house that had several layers of paint this way. I was able to do the wide baseboard trim and the window and door trim in about a 4 hour period in each room. I did try the heat gun and it took too long and the chemicals were out due to the cost and mess.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:48 PM   #4
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


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If the paint is real old it may be over old shellac. Between the two of them a scraper may be your best bet. Old oil based paint gets real hard and brittle and if you use the proper scraper it comes off real easy. I recently did a house that had several layers of paint this way. I was able to do the wide baseboard trim and the window and door trim in about a 4 hour period in each room. I did try the heat gun and it took too long and the chemicals were out due to the cost and mess.

lead dust galore
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:18 AM   #5
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


I will plug an infrared stripper for this. I say again, it was the best tool I ever purchased and perfect for this sort of thing. Expensive but I used it constantly and sold it, fully depreciated from my books, for more than I imagined I could and not that much less than what I paid. It was fast, safe and almost fun at times---especially when I think of other ways I used to strip layers of legacy paint from old home exteriors and interiors.



However, why have you determined you cannot remove the baseboards? I worked almost exclusively on antique homes and most with 1800s hardwood woodwork. You need to go slow and you may need two or three flat bars but if you just pull in the reverse direction they were nailed they will come loose. Just keep inching all your flat bars along. If you want to be lazy, just pull them far enough away from the wall and saw off the nails with a saws all.

Mark each piece so you are not scratching your head about what goes where when it is time to refit them.

Always pull nails out the back and never try to pound them back out the front of the trim or you will most likely cause damage. If you do not want to pull the nails, or if you have lots to deal with, use an angle grinder and just cut them off flush to the surface.

With the baseboards off you can work on them at a comfortable height. I would still use an infrared stripper but a gel stripper would work too.

But, heed the advice given about trying a very sharp scraper first. A dull one is totally counter productive. I like the draw type you pull toward you for applications like yours. I have a detail scraper set for countours. As mentioned it was a trend to paint over varnished or shellaced woodwork and people did not use primer. I have been surprised so many times at how fast a scraper got me down to hardwood. No chemicals. No expensive gadgets. No dust. Minimal sanding unless I was attempting to restain and varnish.



Make sure you know your responsibilities for lead abatement and what you might be exposed to working around it. You can get away with things I cannot as your contractor which is silly in a way.

I hate suiting up but they make some comfortable and cheap tyvek suits and booties. I got mine from Uline. It feels unnatural to have gloves on my hands working on interiors but I wore them around lead and especially if I had open abrasions or cuts which was most of the time. Pick a cute, disposable hat. Your paint store probably has boxes of logo ones in back you can have for the asking. Aspirator or at least masks are not a bad idea when working on an old home whether lead the issue at hand or not. I was once diagnosed with environmental pneumonia for having dug around the guts of old houses for so long.

And BabsHoney, corral that lovely offspring when working around the potentially lead laden paint chips. Kids ingesting paint chips because they have a sweet taste to them thanks to the lead is what originally started all this. Lead is certainly not good for any of us but just given size, it tends to concentrate in the what I once called the Future Famous when helping to build a museum for them.

Last edited by user1007; 10-02-2012 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Added Images
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:37 AM   #6
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lead dust galore
Have to disagree with you on this one and since I have had many similar experiences with a sharp scraper. No real dust. Just solid pieces of paint falling.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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lead dust galore
why are you assuming it's lead based paint usually in older homes they showed off the beautiful walnut woodwork. I would do a test if it bothered me but I would guess they have been painted in the last few years. And I would add as suggested you can remove the baseboards 1 thing is don't try to take to big a bite as this will cause them to crack.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:11 AM   #8
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


can that heater be used on baseboard if you have carpet?
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:14 AM   #9
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you can remove the baseboards 1 thing is don't try to take to big a bite as this will cause them to crack.
Which is why I suggested you buy 3 decent flat bars. You will learn to recognize old nails squeaking and you will feel the flatbars talking to you.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:19 AM   #10
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


Thanks everybody for the replies.

This post wasn't as talky-talky as most of mine because I don't have very much information. This is for the super old Victorian my mom and her friend just bought and honestly, I never looked that closely at the baseboards. But my mom said, "get on your DIY thingy and ask how we need to take this paint off."

I did try doing a search first but didn't come up with much so I asked.

I won't be doing this job and the kiddo isn't allowed in that house until it's considerably safer.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:08 PM   #11
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can that heater be used on baseboard if you have carpet?
Interesting question but heat is very well directed within the housing. I should not think there would be a problem but I would check with the manufacturer if there is any question about melting synthetic fibers. I always had tarps down anyhow and in all the years did not encounter much wtw carpeting.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:36 PM   #12
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Have to disagree with you on this one and since I have had many similar experiences with a sharp scraper. No real dust. Just solid pieces of paint falling.

Welll, I have probably scraped thousands of feet of baseboards, trim, siding etc, and it most certainly created dust. I see no way it could not. Sure a sharp one will produce less; but NO dust? That I would have to see.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:40 PM   #13
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


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why are you assuming it's lead based paint usually in older homes they showed off the beautiful walnut woodwork. I would do a test if it bothered me but I would guess they have been painted in the last few years. And I would add as suggested you can remove the baseboards 1 thing is don't try to take to big a bite as this will cause them to crack.
Well, she said this

The baseboards in this house are very old walnut that have been painted over, probably many times.
You could be right, maybe.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:59 PM   #14
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Removing Old Paint on baseboards = Help?


Haha, yeah in an older homes people usually show off woodwork, but people don't usually carpet bathroom walls and these people did.

:D
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:28 PM   #15
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Haha, yeah in an older homes people usually show off woodwork, but people don't usually carpet bathroom walls and these people did.

:D
OMG Your kidding

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